Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blog Tour (Review): The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson

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Title: The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1)
Author:
Joanna Hickson
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: January 3, 2013
Acquired Via:
Personal Collection

Her beauty fuelled a war.
Her courage captured a king.
Her passion would launch the Tudor dynasty.

When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.

But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?


My Review

The Agincourt Bride is a historical fiction novel by Joanna Hickson that chronicles the life of Catherine de Valois from her birth to her crossing to England, as "told" by her nursemaid, Mette. I bought this book on my Kindle and Audible accounts ages ago because I was interested by the premise, but I must admit it was getting on this tour that pushed me to get to reading it sooner than I would have otherwise.

Since I tend to enjoy historical fiction more if I don't know the full story behind them beforehand (especially if there are liberties taken), I went into the novel knowing that Catherine de Valois was Henry VIII's great-grandmother and that her brother only took the French throne by his brothers' bad luck. That being said, I was able to explore the gorgeously written French court with a fresh mind. I don't know which, if any, characters are fictional, and I was able to enjoy them in regard to their roles in the story.

The one thing that stood out the most to me in The Agincourt Bride was the treatment of women in the novel. Hickson pulled no punches and made this aspect of the novel historically accurate. Mette was lucky in that she had a loving and understanding husband and family, but it was the Middle Ages. Sucky things did happen. Two main female characters were raped in the novel, and it was hard for me to read. I know what I find to be graphic is probably different from other people, but I had to skip ahead at one part. Don't get me wrong - none of this was gratuitous. These scenes illustrated the horrible treatment of women in war and by society in general, as well as the depravity of a horrible individual.

While The Agincourt Bride showed us the awful situations that women had to face in that time, the two main characters - Mette and Catherine - did not let the world box them in. They each found a way to survive and thrive as best they could in a man's world. Catherine was also presented in such a way that I liked her very, very much despite almost always having read pro-English historical fiction.

The Agincourt Bride was an excellent novel that taught me a lot about history, and it has inspired me to read more about that time period. Since The Agincourt Bride ends relatively early in Catherine's life, I sincerely hope that there will be more books with her and Mette.

- 4.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond | Indiebound



About the Author


Joanna Hickson spent twenty-five years at the BBC writing and presenting for radio and television. Gripped by Shakespeare’s historical plays, Joanna began researching the King Henry V’s ‘fair Kate’ as a schoolgirl and the story of Catherine de Valois and the Tudor genesis has remained with her throughout life. She lives in an old farmhouse in Wiltshire and is married with a large family and a wayward Irish terrier.



Links
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Follow the Tour


The Agincourt Bride Tour Schedule

Monday, August 18th
Broken Teepee

Wednesday, August 20th
No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, August 21st
Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, August 25th
Fuelled by Fiction

Wednesday, August 27th
Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, August 29th
nightlyreading

Monday, September 1st
00 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book

Tuesday, September 2nd
Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, September 3rd
Back Porchervations

Thursday, September 4th
Time 2 Read

Friday, September 5th
Kritters Ramblings

Friday, September 5th
Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, September 11th
Svetlana’s Reads and Views


To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I reviewed my own copy of the novel for TLC Book Tours. As always, all expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and completely my own.

September is for Sequels #Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to my stop on the September is for Sequels Giveaway Hop hosted by the wonderful Lisa at Lisa Loves Literature and Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I recently read and loved The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, and I'm incredibly excited about the sequel that is coming out on September 16th!

What You Can Win

The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.



Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Winner must be 13 years of age or have parental permission to enter.
US Only
Ends at 12:01am CST on September 10th

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to stop by these other fantastic blogs and check out their giveaways!


Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That Would Be Sitting at My Lunch Table

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Five Authors That Would Be Sitting at My Lunch Table

I am going to change this one up a little bit this week since I already did a favorite characters Top Ten a few months. This will be the authors that I would be best friends with in an alternate reality.



1. Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite author. Not only is he a fantastic fantasy writer, but he's also a really awesome person. After I read my first Gaiman novel, The Graveyard Book, I stumbled upon Gaiman's blog. Hours and tears and laughter later, I decided I wanted to read anything and everything Gaiman had ever thought about writing. He's also friends with insanely cool people too, like George R. R. Martin (he challenged Martin to the Ice Bucket Challenge and both are really funny to watch).



2. Ilona Andrews

Husband and wife writing duo, Ilona and Gordon, are my next favorite authors. The Kate Daniels series is hands-down my favorite urban fantasy series ever. Kate is one of the most hysterically sarcastic characters. And the writing really carries over into their blog.



3. Maggie Stiefvater

Another awesome writer that just happens to be a really awesome person. I keep up with her blog, but I really connected with her when she posted about being an introvert at one of her book signings. Stiefvater is an introvert and wanted to help out all of us shy kids. It was so heartfelt and sweet.



4. Sarah MacLean
One of the best historical romance writers currently out there, in my opinion. She also writes about relevant and sometimes controversial topics that need to be addressed in today's world on her blog, like diversity in writing and women's bodies and self image.



5. Meljean Brook

Meljean Brook knows how to write steampunk romance. She's also a really funny and cool person. I went searching around on her website and ran across her map of The Iron Seas world. She calls her map ugly (which made me laugh out loud) and asks that it not get published anywhere else so I won't link to it. She also sent a letter to her fans regarding the fact that she chose her latest book in The Iron Seas to be a serial. I guess a lot of people thought that she was just trying to make money or something, but she wrote a funny letter saying that it was mostly because she was taking so long to write the book, and wanted to get it in her fans' hands before years had gone by. It made me respect her because she was respectful and a little self-deprecating in the letter. Also she ended her letter with "TL;DR". :)

These are the only authors I regularly stalk on-line. Let me know if you think I need to check out some other authors' blogs!

Which Authors or Characters Would Be At Your Lunch Table?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Beyond the Pale by Henry Herz

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Title: Beyond the Pale
Author:
Henry Herz (editor)
Publisher: Birch Tree Publishing
Acquired Via: Editor
Release Date: July 7, 2014

Beyond the Pale contains eleven dark fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors:

  • "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" by Saladin Ahmed (author of Throne of the Crescent Moon)
  • "The Children of the Shark God" by Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn)
  • "Misery" & "Shadow Children" by Heather Brewer (author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
  • "Even Hand" by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files)
  • "Red Run" by Kami Garcia (author of Beautiful Creatures)
  • "Pale Rider" & "The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones" by Nancy Holder (author of Wicked)
  • "Frost Child" and "South" by Gillian Philip (author of Rebel Angels)
  • "A Knot of Toads" by Jane Yolen (author of Owl Moon)

The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, "beyond the pale" means foreign, strange, or threatening. You are about to go Beyond the Pale.

My Review

I love love love to read short stories (the literary ones from college are my favorites!), but I don't think that I've ever reviewed an anthology. Since I was so intrigued by the authors and the premise of Beyond the Pale, I figured that I would give it a shot.

I have to be honest and say that I skipped some of the stories for various reasons. I know that Jim Butcher is everyone else's favorite here at Bibliophilia, Please, but I am yet to read The Dresden Files. (Before you string me, I bought them on Kindle and Audible, so Storm Front will be happening soon.) I also skipped Frost Child by Gillian Philip because I wasn't in the mood for fairies at the time. Jan Yolen's A Knot of Toads and Nancy & Belle Holder's The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones were both passed over, as I could get into them. That being said, these stories will not factor into my overall rating of the book.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spotlight (Excerpt and Giveaway): The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

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Title: The Hook Up (Game On #1)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Self
Released Date: September 8, 2014

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on.


Excerpt

My mother once told me that the most important moment in my life wouldn’t be when I won the National Championship or even the Super Bowl. It would be when I fell in love.

Life, she insisted, is how you live it and who you live it with, not what you do to make a living. Given that she told me this when I was sixteen, I basically rolled my eyes and worked on practicing my pass fakes.

But my mother was insistent.

Blog Tour (Excerpt & Giveaway): Iron Pendulum by Megan Curd

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Title: Iron Pendulum (Periodic #2)
Author:
Megan Curd
Publisher: Self
Release Date: August 28, 2014

A month ago, Avery thought the world ended outside Dome Four. Thought she was one of the few of her kind. Thought the war that brought the human race to the brink of extinction was over.

But a month can change everything.

After fighting to escape a tyranny she didn't even know existed, Avery has had to come to grips with all the secrets she's uncovered. But more secrets continue to come to light, revealing how little of her world she truly knew. When evidence starts to show that Dome Four might be under siege, Avery knows what she must do.

Returning to the dome she longed to escape is a challenge for Avery, but now she knows there’s corruption lurking in the shadows. A massive steam shortage leaves half the dome without power, and people are falling ill. Dying.

And they’re blaming Avery.

A month can change everything. One more month could kill everyone. The clock is ticking.


Excerpt

He’d said he’d do anything to find a way to gain the upper hand on Xander’s plans, and I couldn’t argue with that. Xander ripped apart my family, murdered my mother, and took me under his wing as he plotted all of it.

He needed to go, and the sooner the better.

Jaxon breathed lightly, the wind tickling my ear, as he examined the blueprints and pulled me out of my murderous reverie.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Humble Bookperk Bundle

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Okay, if you don't already know about Humble Bundle, you're going to be incredibly excited. I know I was when Bookboy told me about it when it was having a Doctor Who bundle and then again when Amber reminded me about it during their audiobook bundle. They have a LOT of awesome stuff, no matter what the week and/or deals are. And if you're a gamer, you'll be in hog heaven.

This week's Book Bundle is (that you pay various amounts for):


Another thing that I especially like about this site is that you get to decide how much of the money you pay goes to Humble Bundle, the publisher, and various charities. The charities this bundle supports are First Book, Science Fiction Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund, and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

I just wanted to share with you guys. You are now free to return to your regularly scheduled programming.

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I have not been compensated in any way for this post. I am merely sharing something that I personally enjoy with people that I like very much - you.